“CC will pitch out of the pen at least a couple of times,” said manager Aaron Boone. “He will probably pitch once in Tampa and hopefully again in Texas. … The first time will be a little bit more of a controlled setting where he knows he is coming in. If that goes well maybe do it a little bit more on the fly over the weekend.”
Sabathia worked a perfect fourth inning for the Yankees during their 2-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night. His cutter and off-speed pitches looked great and he looked confidence being in that role.
The 39-year-old will “probably” come out of the bullpen again Saturday against the Texas Rangers, said pitching coach Larry Rothschild. They are building him up and making sure he’s comfortable to do this role for the postseason.
At this point in his career, Sabathia is best in a relief role. He’s struggled all year long with going the distance, so one or two innings of work from a seasoned veteran would be great for the Yankees. It’s also a huge bonus to have another quality left-hander coming off the bench.
The only concern with this plan is that Sabathia has been a starter for his whole career and he may not be used to this style of pitching. The only other time Sabathia has come out of the bullpen was during the 2011 season when the Yankees played the Detriot Tigers for the ALDS where Sabathia pitched 1 1/3 innings.
Sabathia, who is planning to retire after this season, is credited to a 5-8 record with a 4.95 ERA. He’s dealt with a consistent knee injury that has held him back all year.